More than three months into his role as special counsel, Robert Mueller is meeting or exceeding expectations in at least one critical area of his job: keeping his work and his team out of the media.
Mueller hasn't held any press conferences, hasn't given an interview to any media outlet and hasn't issued so much as a press release outlining in general terms the scope of his investigation into Russia's influence in the election and President Trump's alleged ties to Russia.
It's virtually impossible to keep all of his work out of the public eye, and press reports were able to note the impaneling of a grand jury and the raid of the home of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. But Mueller has avoided inflaming any partisan tensions by having a non-existent press profile.
"In general, all criminal investigations are better conducted out of the public eye," said Paul Rosenszweig, a former deputy secretary for the Department of Homeland Security and security consultant. "It affords you greater flexibility in tactics and in strategic decision making. Were I in Mueller's position, I too would refuse all interviews and work as hard as I could to avoid the public spotlight."
Mueller's strategy stands in contrast to that of former FBI Director James Comey. When he testified before the House Intelligence Committee, he confirmed the bureau was conducting an investigation into Russia's meddling that included examining whether there was "coordination between the [Trump] campaign and Russia's efforts."
That announcement alone touched off a firestorm of political wrangling and may have directly contributed to the political pressure that ultimately led to Comey's dismissal. Comey was already under fire from Democrats who detested the way he publicly outlined his complaints with the way Hillary Clinton handled her private email server and then announced a reopening of the investigation just days before the election.
The fact that an investigation with such weighty consequences can maintain such secrecy has previously been a cause of concern to many, even to some elected officials.
For example, just days after the special counsel was created for the Russia investigations, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said, "My concern is that we not end up in a place where special counsel doesn't communicate to Congress for months, or years, a decision he's made about the scope of the investigation."
Mueller's office also largely escaped media scrutiny when it decided not to release its first annual budget. Instead, the office's first quarter spending will be publicly released in October.
But those spending figures won't show what the budget allocated to certain activities, which could have shown how Mueller expected the investigation to unfold, or show what areas of investigation Mueller thinks will be most important.